Our View: Bipartisanship for the win

DKS Editors

Eight senators are proving that, yes, Congress can play well with others in a proposal aimed at solving the U.S. illegal immigration issue.

The proposal was conceived from four Democratic senators (Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Robert Menendez of New Jersey) and four Republican senators (Jeff Flake of Arizona, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida). The proposal aims to both aid illegal immigrants who are already here gain citizenship while also strengthening the borders to prevent more immigrants from crossing over.

The proposal has four main pillars:


• Create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already living in the U.S. contingent on strengthening the borders and tracking deportation.

• Reform the legal immigration system to encourage more immigrants to enter the U.S. legally.

• Establish a system to verify legal employment and end the hiring of future illegal immigrants, holding employers responsible for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

• Improve the process of allowing immigrants seeking jobs (allowing more immigrants in when jobs are available, and less when jobs are sparse), as well as enforcing workers’ rights.

The full plan also addresses major issues such as illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children. Under this plan, children would have different requirements for gaining citizenship. The plan also puts a special focus on immigrants who worked or will work in agriculture, saying that those immigrants will have a different citizenship process “due to the utmost importance in our nation maintaining the safety of its food supply.”

It’s unclear how this immigration overhaul will match up with President Obama’s plan, which he plans to announce during a speech in Las Vegas Tuesday. Some House members have already denounced the senators’ plan, including Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who claims the proposal is just “granting amnesty.”

Though it remains to be seen if the proposal will go smoothly through Congress, the proposal is important for another reason: it sets a tone of bipartisanship that will hopefully carry through the next four years.

Last year’s average approval rating for Congress was 15% according to Gallup polls, the lowest in history since Gallup began measuring congressional approval ratings in 1974. This proposal shows that maybe Congress realizes that the American public isn’t too happy with them, and they’re making the effort to get things done this year.

The proposal has a long way to go, but we applaud these eight influential senators for working toward a more efficient Congress.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.